I had planned what I was going to do for the last week of the 52 Weeks Project since around Christmas last year. Everything was in place. It was going to be a wrap up with a twist on the interview formula, speaking with characters from previous films. As I got closer to week 52, I released that I didn't want to 'throw away' a perfectly good week. Why waste the final week with a video that would depend on viewers having seen all of the previous videos? Then I looked at the genres I'd already explored and I noticed that I'd missed thriller/horror. This seemed liked a glaring omission so it was easy to choose that as the direction. Next, I put out a open call for actors and luckily two of my favourites responded.
As for the story, I was driving home from getting groceries when the plot popped into my head, almost completely formed. When a detail about the phone emerge, I knew I was set.
I had two unexpected challenges this week.
1. Finding firewood. Not the biggest challenge but it took more effort than expected. I guess we're between seasons so summer camping is over and winter fires are not yet here.
2. Location. This one almost sunk the project. I usually take my resources into consideration when I write scripts but this time I threw caution to the wind. I was sure it would be easy to find a house with a kitchen overlooking the backyard and have a sympathetic neighbour, willing to allow use of their yard for an hour or two. Not so! Cumberland has alleys between properties so almost no yard back onto its rear neighbour. Also, very few people seem to know and/or get along with their neighbours anymore. Luckily Judi, the star of this week's video, had a perfect location in her neighbour's house across the street from her. Thanks Nick!
It's been an amazing year and I'd like to thank everyone for watching and interacting with the project. The end is bitter-sweet. What will I do this weekend?
Four generations converse…. Or more accurately, the first and fourth generations have a little chat. I've been wanting to interview John Bannerman for a while and with only 2 weeks left, it was now or never. Or more accurately, after the 52 Weeks project was complete.
We had planned on getting Kim, John's grand-daughter, to do the interview but then the idea of getting Zoe to do it popped into my head. She even came up with most of the questions herself. She proved her acting skills when she told me 'I didn't really know the answer, but I said 'yes' to make sure the video was good."
John has lived in the valley for his whole life and he is an amazing man. He seems younger and more vibrant than some people 30 years his junior, and he doesn't seem to let stress get to him. Maybe that's his secret. Who knows?
I would have thought that after almost fifty videos for this project and a bunch of videos for other projects that I was ready for a bit of underwater filming. I was wrong. It was like starting over again with no experience and no tools. It may be redundant to say but it's a different world under there. Everything is in constant motion. I grew up with lakes and sure, there was the odd wind storm or boat wake, but generally things stayed put. In the ocean, even when you think you're not moving, you're probably moving and this goes double for a small high resolution camera.
We filmed over three days. The first day was warm and sunny. The kids played on the beach as Kim and I snorkelled in the water. While there wasn't as much in the way of wild life as I would have preferred, it was a good way to enjoy a Saturday afternoon. When I got home to check the footage, I was pretty disappointed. The still shots were good but the movement shots were almost useless.
The second day was much better as I upgraded my homemade underwater camera housing to a flat lens one and I created a $7.00 rig for my GoPro Camera. The rig gave me much more stability and also doubled as a mini tripod for still shots. It also made the camera easier to find if I happened to drop it.
The third day, we hoped to find more critters. We went to four different locations. The first was WAY too dangerous, the second smelled of human waste, the third had almost no visibility and the fourth had a red tide. The forth location wasn't too bad but Kim got quite cold and needed a couple baths to feel normal.
When I was editing the footage I did some more research and discovered a few tricks. The main one was that slow motion improved the stability of the moving shots considerably. Overall it was a great learning experience and I look forward to improving my skills in the near future.
My triumphant return to painting!
Well, maybe not quite. It has been years since I painted anything for enjoyment. It is something that I used to do quite a bit of though. Before cheap computers and video cameras, I had access to paper, pencils, pens and pigment: the four dark horsemen of the budding artist.
This painting took about 2 hours to gather supplies, paint, and clean up. I thought two and a half minutes would be a good amount of time to compress things into. As you may notice, I wasn't happy with the clouds and repainted them 3 times with a final 'umpf' to embellish the third attempt. I had planned a more detailed painting but I really liked how the buildings turned out so I wanted to try that for the clouds as well. In the end I went with something in between.
We bought the canvases a couple years ago with the intent of doing a family art show. Then we were going to paint Christmas presents. Then we thought we might just sell them at a recent yard sale. Luckily I've finally painted on one of them and hopefully I will find time to do so again before the next decade.
'The Anthem of the Introvert' is one of Kim's favourite songs, so there was no pressure in deciding which song I should do a music video for this week. Don't get me wrong, I also like the song. But when the mother of your children and your 'destined-to-be' soul mate and partner for all time has a suggestion, you'd better listen. Did I mention it's our anniversary this week?
This video was almost very different. I did a bunch of tests with my jib crane tied to my pants so it would follow me as I walked around in circles. Not surprisingly, the result was quite dizzying.
With that idea abandoned, I decided to try a more graphical approach. I've always loved fonts so I took this opportunity to go searching for some new ones. I love how a good font can do a great deal of the heavy lifting when you're trying to set a mood or make a point.